Dogs and Cats and Buying a Home in Las Vegas. Pet Restrictions.

You are ready to buy a home in Las Vegas but what considerations should you have for your furry family members? No, I'm not talking about THAT uncle. Let's talk about how pet ownership and local laws and considrations for Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson.

Most of the considerations that we will talk about will apply to homeowners and also renters. But before you move anywhere, know how laws, hoa rules, or your landlord may affect you and your pets.

The regulations for domestic pet ownership are very similar across most Southern Nevada municipalities. We will address Clark County and the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson here. Please check local rules for other areas or reach out and I can help direct you. NOTICE: Please refer to your area's government officials or an attorney for advice on any pet-related laws or disputes. Nothing in this blog post should constitute legal advice.

Pet Regulations / Codes in the Area

A point of clarification on "Clark County." You would fall under this jurisdiction if you do not live within an incorporated city. When you live in a city, the city’s regulations will take precedence. Some newcomers do not realize that most of what people know as "Las Vegas" is actually ruled by the county of Clark. The City of Las Vegas is a separate and smaller entity. Ask me if you are unsure about this.

Licensing. There is no licensing in Clark County. The City of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson all require licenses for dogs and cats (check with them for other pet types) and that license must be attached to the pet's collar.

Vaccinations: All dogs, cats and ferrets are required to be vaccinated for rabies. AND You must have the rabies tag attached to their collar. Other vaccinations are at the recommendation of your veternarian. Please be aware that the Parvovirus is particularly rampant and has killed many puppies and adult dogs in the area.

Identification. All dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pot-bellied pigs, shall have an ID tag attached to them or a microchip implanted with current owner information. This is in addition to the rabies tag.

Number of Pets Allowed. No more than three dogs and three cats (over the age of 3 months) are allowed at one residence without a Pet Fancier’s permit.  For a Pet Fancier’s Permit, Contact Clark County Animal Control at (702) 455-7710. The permits cost $50 and must be renewed annually. The permit allows up to six dogs, one year of age or more, or 10 cats, 8-months-of-age or older.

Sterilization / Spay / Neuter / Breeding. All dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pot bellied pigs over four months old must be sterilized unless the owner has an exemption. ALL BREEDING OF DOGS AND CATS IS ILLEGAL without the proper permits.

Breed-Specific Laws: Nevada was the 14th state to outlaw breed discrimination. That means that no local municipality/county within the state could restrict or outlaw breeds such as pitbulls. However, this only applies to creation of laws. Breeds can still be restricted by non-government policies. See next section.

Here are links to the appropriate agencies for each jurisdiction: Clark County Animal Control, City of Las Vegas, City of North Las Vegas, City of Henderson

HOA's (Homeowner's Associations / Common Interest Communites)

So you are ready to buy or rent a home/condo in a specific community that has an HOA. You only have two dogs and one cat so, you think everything should be fine. IT MAY NOT BE OKAY. HOA's can restrict pets on size/weight, breed, and the amount of pets even if under the legal limit specificed by the municipality. Of course they can and will have other rules regarding, noise, pet waste, and where in the community pets can be walked.

So, please review the HOA rules before buying or renting a home. In Nevada, when you buy a home the seller must furnish the buyer with a new complete set of the HOA rules, regulations, budgets and other documents which make up the "Resale Package." Ask your real estate agent (hopefully that is me) to make sure the seller orders that Resale Package as soon as possible within the escrow period. Buyers can cancel a purchase agreement within the specified statuatory time limits if they are not satisfied with the HOA rules. If you are renting, ask your landlord for a copy of the HOA rules before you sign your rental agreement (see next section)

Landlords

Besides being restricted by laws and likely and HOA, your landlord can also place additional restrictions on having a pet. This is often the case with the number of pets allowed and weight. Often a landlord or their designated property manager will have to approve each pet if they allow them at all. In most cases a landlord will increase the security deposit for each pet you have. Make sure you disclose to the landlord if you have any pets and review the HOA documents and the lease for any restrictions before you sign it. DO NOT GET A NEW PET ONCE YOU HAVE SIGNED A LEASE without first getting that pet approved in writing from the landlord. I have seen way too many cases of tenants either getting kicked out of their home because they bought a pet that was not allowed by the landlord or they have to give up their beloved pet to stay in their current place. This is not fair to the pet--don't do that!

Insurance and Other Considerations

Be aware that many insurance companies will not insure you/ your property (Owner's insurance or Renter's Insurance) when you have a specific "dangerous breed." Despite the fact that Nevada does not allow breed-specific laws, insurance companies can still restrict who they insure. Often insurance companies will also not insure you if your dog has a history of biting. Check with your insurance agent and your policy. When getting a new dog also make sure you notify your insurance.

We should also talk about neighbors. A neighbor how doesn't like dogs can make your life miserable especially if you have a dog that barks loudly and often. They might report your to the authorities with or without good reason. Check the immediate neightbors for signs that they like dogs--perhaps they have their or own or go talk to them and ask them how they feel about dogs. That could prevent any issues before you get "stuck" in your new home in an uncomfortable situation. Likewise, be a good neighbor and keep dog waste cleaned up and barking to a mininum.

Finally, there are exceptions to Landlord and HOA rules when it comes to pets used as guide dogs, for other disabilities and support. I will not discuss those here because they are very fluid, nuanced, and are regulated by varous agencies. When in doubt, talk with the appropriate agency or legal professional

Have other questions about pets and real estate? Call or email me using the links at the top right.